The inner city of Christchurch is making great progress in rebuilding since the earthquake devastated it in 2011.
Yes, there are those that still say it is too slow, but the challenges have been immense from finding funds – how to pay for it all, availability of resources, bureaucratic hurdles, and trying to envisage what a new 21st century city in New Zealand will be like.
Out of all the confusion and complexity, a wonderful new place is emerging.
With The Terrace project almost open, soonyou will be able to walk along a beautifully developing riverfront, past the earthquake memorial and the stunning new riverside buildings through The Terrace development, then into the retail precinct of the BNZ Centre, ANZ Centre, The Crossing, Stranges Lane and the Innovation Precinct beyond, with short detours along the way to Ballantynes and the soon-to-be built Farmers Market.
With the new library, convention centre and Spark building underway, the Square will begin its revival. The Town Hall, Theatre Royal and The Piano are exciting new and revamped performance spaces for entertainment.
The very large cinema multiplex, well under construction, opposite the completed bus exchange with the inner-city supermarket nearby, is fast-becoming another real urban hub.
Christchurch is turning into a real city again with the pieces all starting to fall into place.
One essential component is lagging behind though – which is inner city housing.
There are good examples emerging – the Atlas Quarter is one and the East Frame housing is also finally underway, but it is challenging.
Land costs, construction costs, providing good quality affordable housing that will not become future slums, are all difficult issues to resolve.
The city though, is becoming a vibrant urban environment and there is a growing demand from people wanting to be part of it – to live the type of city lifestyle that is so appealing in other parts of the world.
There is also demand at the upper end of the market for high-end luxury apartments.
There is one high-end apartment tower well under construction now in Armagh Street. A nine level, 14 apartment, 30-meter-high tower, being built to an exceptionally high standard, designed by Sheppard & Rout Architects.
It will be New Zealand’s first base-isolated, purely residential apartment high rise.
The tower essentially sits on lead / rubber bearings that provide shock absorption between the ground and the apartments.
It is designed for differential movement between the earth and building of almost half a meter. A significant earthquake that shakes the ground should only be minimally transferred to the tower.
This leading edge earthquake resisting technology, which was originally developed in New Zealand, has already been adopted for a number of office buildings and hospitals in Christchurch.
The use of this in the places people live is an exciting next step. This means the apartment building will be a very secure and safe place to live in Christchurch’s earthquake-prone environment.
It is not the only earthquake-resisting technology available and other methods are also being implemented to ensure we have a resilient building stock for the future.
This construction of buildings that are safe and perceived to be safe is an essential part of Christchurch’s healing and revival.
The hope is that these apartments and others will set a trend for the construction of more quality residential apartments, as well as affordable housing within the inner city, turning Christchurch into a true urban environment where people can live, work and play together.
A city we can all be proud of.
Sheppard & Rout Architects
104 Salisbury Street Christchurch
(03) 366 1562 / firstname.lastname@example.org